One of the most common mistakes people make is to under-estimate, or overlook entirely, the potential impact long-term care costs will have on their finances. With an average annual cost of over $100,000 for 2020, and an average length of stay of three years, a LTC bill can quickly deplete a retirement nest egg given the fact that Medicare will not pay for LTC. Medicaid will cover LTC costs, but you must first qualify, a process that could put your assets at risk if you failed to plan ahead. … [Read more...] about How does long-term care factor into my financial planning?
When a participant in a retirement plan dies, benefits the participant would have been entitled to are usually paid to the participant’s designated beneficiary in a form provided by the terms of the plan (lump-sum distribution or an annuity). Many retirement plans require the account owner to name a spouse as the beneficiary unless he/she signs a form allowing the owner to name someone else as the beneficiary. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) protects surviving spouses of … [Read more...] about What happens to your retirement accounts when you die?
An IRA is a tax–advantaged retirement account that you own and control. Earnings generated can compound on a tax–deferred basis until withdrawal. In essence, an IRA is like having your own personal pension that you and/or your employer may contribute to for your retirement years. There are numerous different types of IRAs, the most common of which include a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. Because each has different rules regarding taxation and withdrawals it is important to understand those … [Read more...] about What is an IRA?
The federal gift and estate tax is effectively a tax on the transfer of wealth. A gross estate includes anything a decedent owned at the time of death that has value. Without any deductions or adjustments to your estate, it could lose 40 percent of its value to federal gift and estate taxes. Both your financial planning and estate planning goals should consider the impact taxes will have throughout your life and at the time of your death. … [Read more...] about How do estate taxes impact my estate plan?
Yes. Asset Protection planning should be part of any well thought out estate plan. Creating a financial plan that helps you amass a respectable estate and an estate plan that ensures your estate assets will be distributed accordingly to your wishes when you are gone only takes care of two-thirds of the bigger plan. You also need to protect the assets you acquire so that you will still have some left to pass down to loved ones after you are gone. … [Read more...] about Do I need to include asset protection planning in my estate plan
Financial planning focuses on acquiring assets and building up your estate. A comprehensive estate plan will include numerous goals, including things such as ensuring that your assets are available to provide for loved ones when you are gone and making sure your wishes are honored at the end of your life. At some point, the goals of your financial plan with become entwined with the goals of your estate plan. For example, your financial plan will likely include retirement accounts. Those … [Read more...] about Why should I include financial assistance planning in my estate plan?
The best way to protect your pet and ensure that he/she is provided for in your absence is through the creation of a pet trust. A pet trust is a specialized type of revocable living trust. Like any trust, you will appoint someone as the Trustee of the trust and you will fund the trust with sufficient assets to care for your pet in your absence. The Trustee of your trust is legally obligated to use the utmost care when managing the trust assets and to follow the trust terms just as you wrote … [Read more...] about Is a pet trust a better option?
Gifting your pet to a designated caregiver in your Will does resolve the issue of the legal transfer of ownership; however, it does not solve all of the issues found in a verbal agreement. It does not legally obligate your caregiver to take over the care and maintenance of your pet nor does it provide a satisfactory funding method. You can also gift funds that are intended to be used to care for your pet; however, once gifted in a Will, the funds become the property of the beneficiary to do with … [Read more...] about Can I transfer ownership by gifting my pet in my Will?
You may not think of your pet as property; however, the law considers an animal to be property. Therefore, ownership of that “property” needs to be legally transferred to a new owner after your death. In the event of your incapacity, someone needs the legal authority to take control of that “property” during your incapacity. In addition, by making it clear who you wish to be your pet’s new “owner” you can help prevent disputes that could arise if more than one friend or family member wants to … [Read more...] about My pet isn’t property so why do I need to transfer “ownership?”
People frequently make the mistake of relying on nothing more than a verbal agreement with a family member or friend to care for their pet in the event of their death or disability. There are numerous problems with this option. First, your intended caregiver could be unable or unwilling to fulfill the agreement when the time comes and there is no legal way to enforce the agreement. Second, although you may not view your pet as your property, the law does, and a verbal agreement does not legally … [Read more...] about Do I still need pet planning if a friend promised to take care of my pet?